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Lead or Rumour info - RAF Hemswell, Lincolnshire

Discussion in 'Leads, Rumours and News...' started by Bent Nails, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. Bent Nails

    Bent Nails 28DL Regular User
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    During a recent afternoon explore of some of Lincolnshire's Cold War relics, an intriguing and mysterious site was happened upon in a corner of former RAF Hemswell, now the community of Hemswell Cliff.

    [​IMG]

    To give a little background, construction of the base as a bomber airfield began in 1935, opening 1937. In WW2 it sent the first Bomber Command aircraft to drop bombs on German soil on the night of 19 March 1940.

    In 1958 the base became an American Thor intermediate range ballistic (IRBM) missile unit, which was headquarters for the Lincolnshire group that also included RAF Caistor, RAF Bardney, RAF Coleby Grange and RAF Ludford Magna.

    Altogether there were 20 such sites in the east of England, each harbouring 3 missiles with thermonuclear warheads trained on the Soviet Union. The endeavor was codenamed Project Emily and the missiles were put on full alert during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, before being superseded by inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) based on American soil.

    According to Wikipedia, these missiles were returned to the US in 1963 and the RAF last used the site in 1974. Now the hangars are in commercial use, the technical buildings are used by traders, particularly antique dealers, and the domestic area is now the pleasant residential village of Hemswell Cliff.

    The area of interest is in the north east corner of the site (in the bottom left of the top photo), which from above looks like 12 bunkers or pill boxes - a lot different to the usual Thor missile emplacement layout, which was not found. This section was found to be heavily fortified, with many cameras.

    [​IMG]

    During inspection (from outside the fence) a couple of workers from the area containing vast grain silos approached and one kindly asked if he could help. When asked about the facility one said there were big fireworks kept in there, but when pressed for more detail said that the area was 'just storage' and recommended other RAF sites nearby to visit. Whatever is being stored here is being done so very securely.

    Sorry for the limited views - the overgrowth and dyke made it hard to get up close.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I've tried to research what was and/or still is in here but to no avail - if anyone has any information or ideas it would be very interesting to know!
     

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  2. Coxieboy

    Coxieboy 28DL Full Member
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    Very interesting and intriguing..... the plot thickens!
     
  3. Fairdo's

    Fairdo's 28DL Regular User
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    I'd be very interested if you find anything out. I went on a walk of the perimeter of the airfield with a group off facebook a few months ago and i think we went quite near there but i dont remember seeing anything....
     
  4. A man called Martyn

    A man called Martyn cultural theorist
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    There was also an earlier WW1 period airfield prior to that. No trace of that exists today.
     
  5. Fairdo's

    Fairdo's 28DL Regular User
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    Theres a smaller hangar there that apparently is from WW1 so we were told....
     
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  6. A man called Martyn

    A man called Martyn cultural theorist
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    In one book i've got, it has a picture of a derelict Surveillance and Inspection building at Hemswell. Which is a building from the Thor missile era. Provided of course its still standing.
     
  7. Bent Nails

    Bent Nails 28DL Regular User
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    There is a Brightstar Fireworks registered on Gibson Road though that road appears to be in the trading estate bit.

    No sign of the Thor emplacements - would be interesting to see the picture.

    Did find this building elsewhere, not sure if it's WW1 or WW2.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. KM_Punk

    KM_Punk Muppet
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    Jump into the place, as long as it ain't military anymore you should be find. I'm sure they'll be a hole in the fence

    I doubt it is, I've don't quite a bit of research into Project Emily and when it was disbanded in 1963 they did all they could to hid any secrets. I went to RAF Melton Mowbray and they had poured concrete into the underground control room.
     
  9. A man called Martyn

    A man called Martyn cultural theorist
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    That looks like the building I'm on about, so it is still standing. The launch emplacements are long gone.
     
  10. Poindexter (WW)

    Poindexter (WW) Wasteland Wanderer
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    Do you know how long the security (fencing, cameras) has been there? Some of it looks a little newer, although I'm not sure how much length they would go to secure some fireworks, if that's all it is. I hope the truth isn't incredibly mundane, sometimes the mystery is far more exciting!
     
  11. Bent Nails

    Bent Nails 28DL Regular User
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    Not sure how long as not been before. Fence did look new and no obvious sign any gaps other than the barriered main entrance which also leads to the grain silos and had workers.
     
  12. Ordnance

    Ordnance Moderator
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    It is indeed a explosives Store for BrightStar Fireworks whose head office is at Melmerby Ind Est, east of Ripon an ex RAF MU (Bomb Dump) and original main store at Thorpe Arch (ex ROF)

    Regulations for the storage of bulk fireworks are very strict indeed.
     
    #12 Ordnance, Jul 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
  13. Bent Nails

    Bent Nails 28DL Regular User
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    Mystery solved then. Noticed there's a similar shaped former nuclear weapons store at nearby Faldingworth, also being used for secure storage now plus explosives testing on site.
     
    #13 Bent Nails, Jul 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
  14. Ordnance

    Ordnance Moderator
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    RAF Faldingworth has a E.S.A. similar to Hemswell which used to be used by BMARCO and later BAE Systems into the 90's..

    It also has a former Nuclear Bomb Dump next to it with small bunkers originally built to hold the nuclear fuses for 'Blue Danube' free fall bombs.

    RAF Faldingworth was put up for sale in 1996. It was eventually sold to Unibay, a secure storage company although many of the buildings were leased back to the Royal Ordnance who remained as sitting tenants. The site was once again sold in autumn 2003 although Royal Ordnance (now owned by BAE Systems) remains in residence. Other buildings are now leased to various companies for secure storage. The site is manned, heavily guarded and patrolled 24 hours a day.

    [​IMG]
    with thanks to subbrit for image
    http://www.subbrit.org.uk/rsg/sites/f/faldingworth/
     
    #14 Ordnance, Jul 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2014
  15. Bent Nails

    Bent Nails 28DL Regular User
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    Good info, thanks!
     
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